Epstein Victims to Get Money Under Deal With Virgin Islandsby Patricia Hurtado
- Estate would privately compensate women he took there as girls
- Islands’ attorney general stops blocking compensation plan
Women who accused Jeffrey Epstein of sexually assaulting them as girls can now be compensated after his estate, valued in one filing at more than $600 million, struck a deal with the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The accord puts in place new measures to protect the women, Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George said a statement on Friday. George had blocked an earlier proposal as inadequate. Epstein, who killed himself last August, owned property in the territory where he took many of the girls.
Under the terms of the deal, which requires a judge’s approval, the women no longer have to sign broad releases, and no information will be disclosed publicly or used by Epstein’s estate to defend itself from any claim, George said. A victim’s advocate will ensure that decisions by the fund’s administrators meet the women’s needs.
In addition, funding will be dedicated to those who haven’t yet come forward or who aren’t satisfied with the claims process or their awards, George said. She said the administrators will report to her and the probate court monthly on the number and value of the awards.
“We are pleased that the parties have reached a resolution that allows victims the opportunity to resolve their sexual abuse claims through this independent, voluntary, non-adversarial process,” Camille Biros, Kenneth Feinberg and Jordana Feldman, whom the estate hired to fashion the compensation program, said in a statement. “Over the last several months, we designed the program with the input of victims’ counsel and other interested parties, and we are preparing to move forward to implement the claims process.”
The estate’s executors said they, too, were “extremely pleased” at George’s decision and that they could move forward with a “process that is sensitive to the experiences and concerns of claimants.”
The estate listed assets of about $630 million in a filing in the Virgin Islands, where it is being handled.
Read More: Epstein Victims Dealt a Setback as Judge Denies Punitive Damages
Epstein committed suicide in a jail cell in Manhattan about five weeks after he was arrested last July on federal charges of trafficking girls for sex. After his death, his executors proposed using his wealth to create a fund for confidential compensation as an alternative to lawsuits.
The plan hit an obstacle when George sued the estate and six related companies based in the Virgin Islands in a local court in January, raising concerns about the proposed process, which she said didn’t comply with the territory’s laws and public policy or fully protect the women’s rights.
In the suit, which alleged violation of the territory’s Criminally Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, she sought civil penalties, damages, forfeiture of Epstein’s private islands in the territory and restitution for local women who also accused him of abuse. The suit effectively froze the estate’s assets.
The attorney general said she was committed to advocating for the women and that the suit would continue.
Sigrid McCawley, a lawyer for four victims who have sued Epstein’s estate, didn’t immediately return voicemails and emails seeking comment on George’s announcement.
(Updates with details starting in second paragraph)